A “Thank You” from Steve Malin, AETA President’s Award Recipient

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Published on: December 9, 2016

I would like to thank Bethany Funnell and everyone else who had had any part in recognizing me with the President’s Award during our recent convention. Our association can certainly keep a secret. I didn’t have a clue anything was in the works until Bethany began her talk. I will cherish that honor for the rest of my life.

The AETA has been a valuable asset to me as I look back on my professional career. Without the benefit of the information shared during formal presentations and personal interactions with friends and colleagues in our industry, I‘m sure my career would have been much less rewarding.

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September 2016 President’s Message

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Published on: September 13, 2016

Time never seems to slow down, but here we are on the cusp of a new academic year. “Back to school” can be such an exciting time for both parents and students, and is also exciting for professors and teachers. It is wonderful to see fresh faces come through the classroom doors, full of inquisition and ambition. I want to take an opportunity to thank all of the practitioners out there who have hosted students at their practices, to show them the how’s and why’s of the embryo transfer industry. All of the feedback I get from the DVM students at Purdue has been very positive, and I would encourage our membership to reach out to the veterinary institution in their respective states, to have a student or two visit your practice or participate in an externship or preceptorship. It is a rewarding experience, and the students take away more than you ever imagined they could.

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June 2016 President’s Message

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Published on: June 17, 2016

President’s Message

Spring is in full swing.  Calves have been born, crops are in the ground, and there is an air of optimism surrounding many of us as we head into summer. Commencement ceremonies are over and graduation celebrations are underway. It is very enjoyable to watch the latest class of veterinary students work through their last rotations, fighting terrible cases of senioritis and looking forward to their new careers and futures.  It is also a very busy time for many of us in the ET industry, and I hope the season is proving to be prosperous for all of you.

There has not been much activity at the level of the Board of Directors during the last few months; however, committee work has been ongoing, and I would like to highlight some of these activities.

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March 2016 President’s Letter

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Published on: March 28, 2016

The last few years have been very good for the association. Member involvement in committees is excellent, and there are still many other members who have voiced interest in serving on committees. Any service to the association is welcome and always encouraged. There will be a few changes to the leadership on some of the committees over the next couple of years. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the volunteers who have served on the AETA’s various committees, and especially the committee chairs (past, present, and future) for providing leadership to these committees. Indeed, it is the work of the committees that moves the association forward.

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December 2015 President’s Letter

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Published on: December 16, 2015

Holiday Greetings to you and your ETB!

I’m proud to be part of an organization that comes together once a year, learns about what is new in the ART research community, and shares practice tips and a laugh or two over good fellowship. The joint meeting in Niagara is now behind us, but what a convention it was. The venue and view were fantastic, and I believe most everyone was pleased with the accommodations and hospitality our Canadian friends provided for us. The convention committee received a large number of convention surveys from attendees and a large volume of supportive and corrective feedback. THANK YOU for giving us this feedback! It is considered heavily as the next committee begins planning future sites and programs.

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September 2015 President’s Letter

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Published on: September 23, 2015

By now ALL of you should have your meeting registration completed, hotel reservations made, and airplane tickets booked. That’s right folks, it is again time to meet up with our Canadian and American embryo transfer buddies, enjoy a cocktail or a Coke, and talk ET. Refer to Bethany’s report and the website to find out more about the many exciting things coming our way in Niagara!

It has been another quiet quarter thus far at the board level, which is just okay given the busyness we all endure with summer breeding season followed closely by those fun family vacations. We did recently approve a site for the 2017 meeting, which will take place in Orlando, Florida, in October. Now it’s time to dig our AETA spurs in and get to work on improving our organization. I’m looking forward to a productive board meeting in Niagara and to hopefully picking up organizational pace as we go through the fall months and into winter. Your suggestions on how to improve our organization are always welcome.

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June 2015 President’s Letter

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Published on: June 10, 2015

This article should find most of you arm deep in spring-born implants. I continue to be amazed at how processed, lush, green, pasture grass can quickly change the attitude of a happy housewife at laundry time. Thank goodness for Columbia rain pants.

Things are pretty quiet at the board level right now. Bethany Funnell is hard at work with the planning of the joint convention of CETA and ACTE. She and Francois-Xavier Grand will co-chair this year’s program. Following up on last year’s positive feedback, I believe they will again be including some sessions for students and technicians. Be on the lookout for the agenda to be posted on the AETA website, and please block out your calendars for a CE trip to Niagara on October 15–17.

Speaking of website, we would like your feedback on www.aeta.org. There have been some visitor comments made about the complexity and confusion of our website, particularly when it comes to the trade leads area. You will be receiving an e-mail asking for your input, and we would really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes of your time to do so. The feedback from the membership will guide the board of directors and education and cooperator committees with direction of where to head with this. One thing to note is that our website is currently not compatible with mobile formatting. A total restructure of the website would be required to get it capable of doing so.

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March 2015 President’s Letter

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Published on: March 25, 2015

By now, our summer implant efforts from last year are starting hit the ground as calves. Unfortunately, clients everywhere are having to take extra precautions to save those little buggers from snowdrift hypothermia (especially those in the Northeast!) and those precious fuzzy ears from frostbite.

Our board of directors met in the beginning of February at FASS headquarters for the mid-year board meeting. I thought we had a productive meeting and covered a lot of bases. While no major issues face the organization right now, we did end up with a strong list of action steps I believe will continue to move the organization in a positive direction. One particular step includes asking you, our membership, to give us feedback through an online survey. Stay tuned.

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December 2014 President’s Letter

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Published on: December 22, 2014

Thank you all for allowing me the privilege of serving as the AETA president for 2014. It has been an honor to serve an organization that has given so much to me. I attended my first AETA meeting in 1999, and the knowledge I have gained by sitting in on these meetings and the people I have met along the way have helped me immensely. I have said it many times that this organization is strong and will remain strong for years to come.

Reading through the surveys from our annual meeting in Madison, we found many great responses. As always, we take these and look at how we can make every meeting better than the last. Thank you to the convention committee for putting an outstanding program together. Thank you to our sponsors for the preconference social, golf outing, breakfast, lunch, coffee breaks, and our banquet. We truly appreciate your continued support and friendship.

As usual, it has been pretty quiet since the meeting in October. Your board of directors will meet in February, so if anyone has topics they would like us to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the board members.

Again, thank you for allowing me this honor. I have gotten to know many of you better through this experience and I hope I have been able to give back to the organization. I hope this newsletter finds each and every one of you in the holiday spirit and you can find time to enjoy the holidays with friends and family.

Respectfully,

Dr. Michael Pugh

September 2014 President’s Letter

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Published on: September 10, 2014

Wow, how time flies. Seems like summer just started yesterday and it’s already over. I’m sure like most of you, our kids always seem to find too many activities to get involved with and we (well mostly my wife) spend all our “spare” time running them to all their events. Oh, the joys of parenthood. Even though we complain, we wouldn’t have it any other way.  Kind of like the ET business.  We spend all those late nights flushing cows and transferring embryos, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m very excited about the program that has been put together for the upcoming meeting in Madison. Looks like our program committee has something for new practioners, more experienced practioners, technicians, and students alike. The program is very deep in content and it looks like there will be very useful information gleaned from every part. I’m also very excited that we are working harder than ever to attract students to our meetings. With this year’s meeting proximity, we are hoping to have a great student turnout and the program has certainly been altered to reflect this. I also want to send out congratulations to the 6 scholarship winners this year. I understand there were many great applicants and those that were selected are truly outstanding. I would like to extend a thank you to all our great sponsors and vendors. Without their support, this meeting would not be the great event that it has become. Our pre-conference social looks to be a stellar event and we have some very special presentations planned for the banquet, so please plan to attend these important affairs.

I am very proud to be the leader of this organization for 2014. The AETA is a great organization because of the great men and women that have, do, and will make up its leadership and membership. Thank you to everyone that has put together a tremendous effort so far and I look forward to seeing you all in Madison.

Respectfully

Dr. Michael Pugh

June 2014 President’s Letter

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Published on: June 17, 2014

I hope this newsletter finds you all well. Spring means a lot of different things to different people. For those of you that do a lot of beef work like we do, it means large groups of recipients waiting for you day after day. Bawling cows and calves in your ear all day is the norm. While we are all busy with our practices and families, many of your colleagues are busy keeping your organization moving in a positive direction.

Jon Schmidt and Charles Looney are working with their counterparts from the Canadian Embryo Transfer Association (CETA) to put together a fantastic program for Madison. I am sure they will put together a program that will have something for everyone. In addition to their efforts, the education committee is working on several ideas to make our meeting more “student friendly.” Because of the proximity of this meeting to many major universities and veterinary schools, they recognize the opportunity to showcase our organization to students. I want to personally invite any student that can find time in their busy schedules to attend to please do so.

2014 is also the year for China inspections and reinspections. These will be taking place between June 23 and July 4 this summer. I want to thank everyone who has participated in this effort so far. A great deal of effort from the cooperator committee, government liaison committee, and Jeremy at the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) office has been invested already. The AETA has worked very closely with the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) and our representatives from USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to make this event happen. I also want to thank Martin Sieber for agreeing to spearhead this operation and am confident he will make the event happen smoothly.

The cooperator committee has been hard at work organizing the first AETA shipment of embryos to Kazakhstan. Approximately 150 embryos from more than 10 different AETA members will be included in this shipment. Thanks to everyone involved for continuing to keep the AETA at the forefront of the international marketplace and the representation of US genetics.

I think it is safe to say the AETA is a strong and stable organization. There are so many other efforts going on behind the scenes, there isn’t enough time to point them all out. It is clear to me that our members care about the current and future status of this profession. I know everyone is busy and it is not always easy to take time away from work or family to answer that e-mail or return that phone call. But the passion for what we do drives us to continue to push our organization forward. Thank you and keep up the good work.

Respectfully

Michael Pugh

March 2014 President’s Letter

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Published on: March 13, 2014

It has certainly been a winter to remember here in the Midwest. Record cold temperatures and record days below freezing don’t equate to record embryo production or pregnancy rates. Spring will certainly be welcome when it finally gets here.

As I begin my term as President of this great organization, it is certainly nice to lead a group that is on good terms. I would like to thank all the great leaders of this organization in the past for putting us in this position and I have no doubt that your current board of directors will continue to move the AETA forward. At our recent winter board meeting, your board of directors made it clear that one of our objectives is to invest our resources into educating students and attracting more of them to our profession. The membership and convention committees are working on gearing a portion of the program to students and we are all looking forward to a great meeting in Madison.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our many committee members who are the backbone of this organization. Many of these individuals put in countless hours in addition to their busy schedules to carry out all the “leg work” that makes the AETA so great. Our board of directors thanks them for their efforts and encourages them to “keep up the good work”.

Thank you for your confidence and the opportunity to lead one of the great professional organizations. Any ideas for improvement are always welcome.

 

Respectfully,

Dr. Michael Pugh, AETA President

April President’s Letter

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Published on: April 30, 2013

photoAs winter refuses to release its grip here in the Northeast, I have the opportunity to reflect upon my first few months as President. It has fortunately been absent of any serious issues or problems and the only major event to grace this period was our winter board meeting which was held at FASS headquarters in Champaign-Urbana. Although the board often meets in the winter at the venue selected for the annual meeting, it had been decided that utilizing the FASS offices was both logistically prudent and an excellent opportunity to get some face-time with the folks that do so much to make our organization run. In hindsight I believe this to have been an excellent decision and would encourage future boards to periodically meet there as well.

We also agreed to extend the length of this year’s meeting by a day to allow the board to participate in a facilitated strategic planning session. Many organizations utilize such sessions to provide direction and guidance and, given that several years have passed since the AETA went through such a process, the board deemed it an appropriate time to take a close look at who we are and where we are headed – both in the short term and long. While the details and refinements of this planning session will be an ongoing process in the months to come, the board did formulate an outline that will hopefully provide direction and ideas for the years to come. This document will also be reviewed with the committee chairs prior to our next board meeting given that the action points will be implemented at this level.

In January of this year Dr. Michael Pugh travelled to Hanover Germany to represent the AETA at the annual IETS conference. I would like to thank Michael for taking the time away from family and work to make this long trip. I believe it only benefits our organization to maintain a clear working relationship with the IETS and we are looking at some joint projects both in the near future and long-term. Specifically, many of our members will be involved in the pre-conference symposium “Practical Advances in Embryo Technology” at the IETS conference in Reno in January 2014. In addition Charles and Michael (our conference co-chairs) are working to ensure that the content of our meeting in Reno this fall is complimentary to that of the IETS later that winter.

Member services and education continue to be a primary focus of your board of directors. In Champaign-Urbana the board voted unanimously to provide a financial safety-net (for at least the next three years) to ensure that the embryo transfer training workshops will continue to be a part of the pre-conference program at each AABP conference. The AETA has a long history of involvement in these workshops and I would like to thank Dr. Randall Hinshaw for his diligent work in maintaining that spirit. I am also pleased to announce that Drs. Dave Matsas and Richard Whitaker, along with the staff at SVF Foundation in Newport, RI, have completed filming of a new small ruminant ET training video. Pre-edited footage looks fantastic and we are on schedule to have this available both on the website and as a DVD by our annual meeting.
That’s all the news for now and in closing I would simply wish everyone a safe and productive summer. Don’t forget to save the date for our conference in Reno this fall and remember to mention the student scholarships and free student membership as you interact with those that are up and coming within the profession.

Sincerely,
Kevin A. Lindell

December President’s Letter

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Published on: December 21, 2012

As my term expires at the end of December I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jeremy and the FASS staff as well as the AETA board of directors for a great year. Thanks to the leadership of previous boards putting us back in a stable condition after plummeting off our own “fiscal cliff” several years ago we are now able to look at opportunities to enhance member benefits. It is a lot more exciting to attend board meetings now to discuss new ideas and vision statements than to worry about how to pay the bills. So as we move forward I would just like to thank those individuals who handled the GMO crisis for the opportunities we have now. I think the future is bright and I would encourage anyone to get involved on a committee or the board. The new set of officers is the youngest group we have had in a long time, so expect plenty of good things to come.

To give more consistency to the terms of directors and officers, they will officially take office beginning January 1. In the past, terms have been between annual meetings, but with dates changing each year for those from mid August to late October it would have some serve 10 months and some 14 months. This also gives a period between being elected and taking office to transition critical duties such as treasurer.

I would like to thank our Canadian colleagues for hosting an outstanding meeting in Winnipeg. Highlights of that meeting as well as a summary of the board of directors meeting are contained in this newsletter. Our intent is to provide a summary of issues from the board meeting so members can proactively participate on these as they are being developed instead of reacting to them after the board has implemented action. Please take time to read this summary and give us your opinion.

I had the opportunity to take advantage of one of our new programs this fall. Dr. Looney invited me to spend a day working with him at a client’s facility. We were able to spend all day and half the night discussing embryo transfer with a little Razorback and Wildcat football mixed in as well as next year’s meeting in Reno. Aside from the certification credit available, I probably learned as much in that one day as any meeting I have ever attended. I absolutely would encourage everyone to use the excuse of obtaining “Certification Credit” to get to visit another practice, even if you don’t need the credit, and thanks Charles for the hospitality.

Glenn Engelland

June 2012 President’s Letter

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Published on: June 26, 2012

I hope everyone is in the middle of a busy season, but able to see light at the end of the tunnel. I seem to find myself looking at the calendar, hunting for open days in the embryo schedule, so we can catch up on odd jobs or just take a break. When I started this letter we were looking at one of the driest summers on record beginning, but I have to edit it, as we have just gotten over 2 inches of rain in the last 2 days. I don’t know if it helps, but it sure makes everyone’s attitude better. Wheat harvest is over in our area and normally doesn’t begin until about June 20th. There has been more straw baled around here than I have ever seen in anticipation of tight forage supplies again this year.

We have attempted to expand the content of the newsletter and I would like to thank Dr. Allen Rushmer for taking the lead to get this accomplished. Feedback from the article on Dr. Harley Schneider’s retirement in Costa Rica was extremely positive, so we will attempt to get such an article in each newsletter. If anyone has knowledge of a retired members life after embryo transfer or any other human interest story, please let Jeremy or Allen know.

The cooperator committee is finalizing plans to send a delegation to India on an initial fact finding trip. They will focus on making contacts that may help develop protocols for future export of U S embryos to that country. This trip is funded with money procured through our involvement with USLGE. Previous endeavors of this type have helped open markets to places like Europe, Japan, China, and most recently to Russia. The committee should have a report of the trip at the Winnipeg meeting.

Changes to the certification program have taken effect . These updates should make the program stronger and give it more credibility worldwide. We have a session planned at the annual meeting to explain details and answer any questions. The new program and forms for reporting colleague visits for credit are on the website.

The annual meeting in Winnipeg Canada is fast approaching. The program looks excellent and the social events are going to be top notch. You might want to begin looking at travel plans, and don’t forget you must have a passport. If you know any interested students remind them that AETA memberships are now free.

As the busy season continues and you are up to your ears in alligators, remember to use common sense and think safety first. I just had a client loose several teeth when a cow kicked a gate at him. He was talking instead of paying attention. How often do we see a stupid mistake turn into a serious injury in the blink of an eye? Stay healthy and hope to see everyone in Winnipeg.

March 2012 President’s Letter

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Published on: March 15, 2012

Greetings from tropical Kansas, as we have yet to experience any significant winter weather. Moisture here has come mostly in the form of rain and travel problems have been very limited. We needed a mild winter to help out the short forage supplies and so far have been blessed.  Many ranchers have been counting bales and calculating how many days of supply they have left. Needless to say, open cows and ones losing calves don’t get to eat very long until they are available to someone else as recipients (there is always a silver lining). Calving season is in full swing, so I would expect a major blizzard any time. Bull sale season is also in full swing and I don’t think I have ever seen this much optimism. The local sale barn has seen a steady stream of older bulls all winter as the cull price has gone up. Those all now need to be replaced, hopefully with good-quality embryo transfer bulls from our clients.

The AETA board of directors held our winter meeting in conjunction with the IETS annual convention in Phoenix, Arizona. The pre-conference symposium we sponsored with IETS was very well attended and was a full day of extremely informative lectures and discussion. Thanks to Dr. Charles Looney for his efforts on that program.

New certification guidelines were adopted to reflect that we now certify individual practitioners and not embryo transfer businesses. A continuing education option has been added, which will encourage (but not require) practitioners to visit one another’s practices. A report from the certification committee is in this newsletter.

A position statement on embryo transfer being the practice of veterinary medicine was adopted with little opposition after lengthy discussion and careful consideration by the board of directors.  The statement in its entirety is contained in this newsletter. The board and an ad hoc committee worked at length on this issue since the membership asked for it with a vote last August in San Antonio. I think this statement reflects the majority sentiment of our membership, realizing we have within our membership very wide-ranging background and practice settings. What we must remember is that the AETA is not a regulatory organization.  This power lies with individual states.  It is up to each state legislature and the corresponding boards of veterinary examiners to determine what qualifications are required to perform given veterinary procedures within their jurisdiction. Veterinary practice acts are discussed and debated every year in state legislatures around the country. The AETA’s mission remains the education, dissemination of information, and support of the embryo transfer industry in the United States. What this statement gives us is a basis for comment when asked our position and a guideline for design of continuing education programs in the future. What it does not do is change requirements for membership in the AETA, support of our members who are performing ET procedures legally and ethically, or our commitment to the industry as a whole. I would like to personally thank the committee members and anyone who expressed their heartfelt opinion on this. I do believe the only way to make progress is to discuss issues openly in a respectful manner, make a democratic decision, move on, and remain friends.

The cooperator committee has reported a very successful effort with results in Russia. A story picked up on a national TV station with video and commentary (in Russian) was very positive for the program and was advertising that we could not purchase at any price for US genetics and our embryo industry. This committee continues to be quite active with ambitions to expand into other markets worldwide in cooperation with US Livestock Genetics Export (USLGE).

The new website is up and running so check it out, try maneuvering and give us some feedback on how it works. The education committee has worked with the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) IT staff very hard on this project and as we move more toward web-based communication with members, we need to make sure members are happy with the process. We hope to get to a point where most of our renewals and activity surveys are submitted via the Web. This saves a lot of time manually entering data and therefore provides savings on FASS time we are billed for.

I again would like to personally thank anyone who serves on a committee.  This is where the great things that happen in our organization get accomplished.

I hope everyone has a successful spring, whether that means a busy ET practice, a lower golf score, good fishing, or high cattle and milk prices. Whatever you spend your time doing, please be safe so we can enjoy each other’s company in Winnipeg, Manitoba this September.

October President’s Letter

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Published on: October 27, 2011

As the weather is cooling here in Kansas, the fall crops are being harvested, the wheat is mostly planted  and the farmers are finally turning their attention to the cows. With the record breaking heat and drought scorching the pastures and feed supplies, most cattlemen from here south  have been culling to the heart of their herds and scrambling to acquire enough feed to maintain the few cows they have retained. Driving north on I-35 from San Antonio to Salina in August, we met a steady stream of hay trucks heading south. It is a large area that is hurting and prospects for plentiful moisture don’t look promising. I guess the silver lining is that when we do get moisture, there are going to be a lot of good cattle needed to repopulate. There is always positive in every situation!

The San Antonio convention was a success thanks to many people lending a hand. Special thanks go to Dr. Castleberry for hosting the small ruminant wet lab at his facility, and to Dr. Looney for providing equipment and personnel to make the timely topics sessions happen. Thanks to all those who presented talks or organized events, your time and expertise are appreciated. Once again our sponsors and exhibitors stepped up big time to contribute to making this event a yearly reunion that not only informs and educates but is just plain enjoyable. Yep, the timely topics need a little constructive tweaking, but all in all, it was a success. To everyone that contributed to making this event happen I would like to extend a sincere Texas- sized Thank You!

Updates on issues from the association:
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July President’s Letter

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Published on: July 7, 2011

Happy summer, everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day.

Coming Soon

I hope you’re noticing that our website is becoming a veritable bulletin board for our association:  membership renewal, meeting registrations, CE credits, official board correspondence, Board of Directors guidelines, links to sponsors, links to affiliate associations, and more.  AETA.org has become such an important and busy communication tool that we’ve charged the education committee with a complete redesign of the website. It’ll be even more exciting! Stay tuned! (more…)

March Presidents Letter

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Published on: March 23, 2011

Happy Spring Everybody!

I’m certainly looking forward to spring! New England had a REAL winter this year, with lots of snow and colder than normal. March has warmed, we’ve had some rain, and we still have 18 inches of hardened snow in the yard. It’s the price we pay for living in one of the most beautiful spots in the world!

AETA’s been quite busy this quarter! By unanimous decision, this and future newsletters will be on our website for all the public. Dr. Duxbury prepared a draft letter in response to FDA request for comment on non-approved drug usage (Thanks Margaret!). FSH products are a very small piece of that expansive group of products. With a few edits and the board’s approval we submitted AETA’s response by the deadline. This document is available to all AETA members on the website.

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Greetings and Happy Holidays!

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Published on: December 20, 2010

Welcome to our first digital newsletter! I hope it gets a Closer Look from all. There may be some glitches, but this is our distribution plan: Email to everyone for which we have an email address. A hardcopy can be mailed by contacting the AETA Headquarters office. A link to all newsletters will also be available on our website.

A special thanks to Sam Edwards for his patient leadership last year.  The 2010 Annual Meeting was apparently successful. I apologize to all of you that had transportation issues. I want to honor Jon Schmidt and the Trans Ova team for presenting at the last minute. Muchas  Gracias!!!  Check out pictures from the Concord meeting in this newsletter. Thanks to Glenn Engelland for the photos. In looking at the convention surveys, some were really excited with the bleeding edge of ET, and others lamented the lack of ET basics at the meeting. I really appreciate all the comments and I’ve forwarded all of the surveys to our 2011 program chair Glenn Engelland. I’m confident he’ll address those issues in San Antonio.
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